Wallabies eye up win over All Blacks
Karmichael Hunt was confident a much-improved Wallabies outfit can beat New Zealand in next week’s rugby test and he can return to play a part.
The utility will play the second game in his comeback from ankle surgery for National Rugby Championship outfit Brisbane City tomorrow, before he joins the Wallabies squad for next Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup series dead rubber.
Hunt insisted he is ready to be thrown into battle if called on by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika despite having played only 40 minutes of club rugby since surgery.
‘‘There were no lingering effects, no in-game effects [in the comeback game] and I’m definitely confident in where I’m at right now,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘But is it the best preparation heading into a test? I’d have to say no.
‘‘It’s as best as I can be right now and I’ll just get into camp and train hard.’’
After playing his way into Cheika’s first-choice side, Hunt was a late withdrawal from Australia’s squad for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in August.
The All Blacks racked up their biggest score against their traditional rivals in that game, prevailing 54-34 after leading 54-6.
Since then the Wallabies have beaten Argentina twice, drawn twice with South Africa, and came within minutes of a rare Bledisloe Cup win on New Zealand soil in a heartbreaking 35-29 Dunedin defeat.
Hunt will press his case for selection when Brisbane play Melbourne Rising at a suburban rugby ground just 3km from Suncorp Stadium, where he believes Australia can prevail over the world’s No 1 team.
‘‘The group that you see now, compared to the group you saw in game one in Sydney is chalk and cheese,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘I can see from an outside view there is a belief in the style of play and players that are playing at the moment.
‘‘It’s a great time to be back getting involved.’’
Hunt will play alongside Wallabies bench weapon Samu Kerevi tomorrow in a playoff of sorts for a Wallabies utility spot.
‘‘You just go out and play footy; I’m not trying to get more touches than Samu,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘I spoke [to Cheika] before Argentina and he said just to get back and play some footy, he wasn’t fussed on what position I played.’’